Our church history is quite colorful. Starting with the mass immigration of Ukrainians to America to today’s Ukrainian Americans and now a new wave of current immigrants from Ukraine. The Ukrainian people came long distances, across the ocean, to seek their destiny in the United States. It was not an easy venture, but when they set out on their travels the anticipated good fortune overcame their fears. Arriving in America, they began a grim and rough life, but they were finally a free people. The better life, though there were hardships to overcome, seemed attainable in America, the land of freedom and opportunity. The city of Troy, NY in the 1800’s was famous for its mills and foundries. In those days, Troy was in need of laborers for the available heavy industry. In the year of 1886, the first Ukrainian settlers came, mostly from the western part of Ukraine: Ternopil, Horlyzi, Synk, and Lisko. During the first years the immigrants endured hardships. A “ghetto” way of life prevailed in America as people of one nationality of another grouped together into particular sections of town. But the Ukrainian people were, and remain religious, Christian people. St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church was established in 1897, and now, over 100 years later, we celebrate our wonderful parish and our American citizenship.
We want to thank all of the wonderful priests that have been here at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox church.
1897-1902 – Father Nestro Dmytrow. Reorganized the parish and under his direction bought the old Methodist church on the corner of Third and Monroe.
1903-1906 – Father Dobrotwor. Under his stay, land for the church cemetery was purchased on the boundary between Watervliet and Maplewood.
1906 – Father Dwulin
1907 – Father Fekula
1907-1908 – Father Joseph Szaplinsky
1909 – Father Bartish
1910 – Father Michael Struminsky
1910-1913 – Father Ilaray Yakimovich
1913-1914 – Father Nicholas Prodan. Took the responsibility to head the collection for funds needed to begin construction of the new church.
1914-1915 – Father Lukavsky
1915-1917 – Father Stephan Podlutsky. In 1915, the parish resolved to begin construction of the new church; on July 18, 1915, Father Dorozinsky, Father Karmansky and Father Podlutsky officiated at the blessing of the cornerstone of the new church. The blessing of the bells for the new church took place on October 24, 1915.
1918 – Father Volodymyr Stech
1918 – Father Nicholas Romanyk
1918-1919 – Father Nicholas Bodnik
1919 – Father Prodan
1920-1921 – Father Joseph Badnar. Was assigned to the Troy parish by the Ukrainian Orthodox consistory, in December 1920, the Troy church sent delegates to the Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. From this time forward the Troy church separated themselves from the Greek Catholic Church.
1921-1926 – Father Yaletchko. During his time it was explained from the consistory that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church wished to remain independent without any foreign influences. Unanimously approved, the new name was to include Ukrainian Orthodox Church. St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church was named. Troy’s parish bonded to Metropolitan Lipkivsky in Kiev, Ukraine, also, in 1924 the youth league of St. Nicholas Church was organized and was the oldest Ukrainian youth organization in the U.S.;
1926-1929 – Return of Father Joseph Badnar
1929-1930 – Father Andrew Ivanyshyn. In 1929 a set of bylaws or constitution was created for the Troy church.
1930-1932 – Father John Hundiak (who later became Archbishop Mark)
1932-1934 – Father Kachyr
1933 – Father Kuryllo
1934-1935 – Father Dmytruk. Under his guidance, construction of the church hall on Second Street in Troy began.
1935-1953 – Father Ivansyshyn. St. Nicholas hosted the 7th Annual Convention of the Ukrainian Orthodox League of America;
1953-1968 – Father Myron Pacholok. In 1954, the “Burning of the Parish Home Mortgage” and the blessing of the newly constructed classroom in the basement of the church. The Dedication of the Ikonostas and Church Interior was completed on September 27, 1964.
1968-1972 – Father Theodore Buggan (the late Metropolitan Constantine). Instituted and organized the annual international arts festival and the Festival of Nations. (Click here for the official press release on his passing in 2012.)
1972-1977 – Father Kulish
1977-1981 – Father Oleksij Limonchenko. Our Parish Constitution was updated.
1981-1999 – Father Wolodymyr Paszko. Father Paszko served Saint Nicholas church for over 18 hard working years. He traveled from Elizaville to Troy every weekend, never missed a single service in all of his years at Saint Nicholas, and was always spiritually uplifting to all parishoners. He and his late brother, Fred Paszko, worked endless hours maintaining and repairing the church, church hall, and helped tremendously with monetary gifts. Under his guidance and leadership, the church was repainted and flourished, with many altar boys serving on any given Sunday. Father Paszko and his family are also responsible for restoring and reopening St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Hudson, N.Y. and for building a church in Ukraine in the village where he was born.
1998-2002 – Father Bohdan Kalynyk. Father Kalynyk worked endlessly to renovate our church hall.
2002-2014 – Peter Paul Szewczuk.
Present – Father Vasyl Dovgan. Father Vasyl and his family have been a shining Light as Saint Nicholas prepares for growth, and welcomes the next wave of Orthodox Ukrainians to New York and the Capital Region.
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Ikonostas
In the year 988 Ukraine became a Christian nation, under the rule of St. Volodimir the Great, the grandchild of the Grand Princess St. Olga. The Greek Orthodox Faith was accepted as the religion of the State. It is said that Volodimir was dissatisfied with the heathen religion and was for a long time uncertain as to which faith he should accept for his people instead; whether the Mohammedan from the Bolgarians who lived beyond the Volga, or the Jewish from the Khazars, or the Roman from the Germans, or the Greek from Byzantium, for missionaries from many lands came to Volodimir to plead the merits of their respective faiths. All were refused. Volodimir then decided to find out for himself which was the best religion. He sent out envoys to many lands to gather information and report to him. Those sent to Constantinople found Greek Orthodoxy the best. The boyars also said: “The Greek religion is clearly the best, for it was accepted by your grandmother Olga, who was the wisest of all people.” When the envoys returned, they approached Volodimir and spoke in joyous unison: “Nowhere is there such faith as among the Greeks. While we listened to and viewed services in Constantinople, in the church of St. Sophia, we did not know where we stood – in heaven or on earth.” Volodimir then agreed to accept the Greek Orthodox Faith, but he was too proud to beg for baptism from the Byzantines, preferring to gain by his victories the right to demand it. He then attacked and conquered the Greek cities in Crimea. Made bold by his conquest he sent an embassy to the joint Byzantine emperors, Basil and Constantine, to demand their sister, Princess Anna, in marriage as a condition of peace. The emperors accepted his proposal on condition that Volodimir be baptized. His reply was that he would gladly accept Christianity, as he had already been favorably inclined to us. Princess Anna was then sent to Chersonesus a Byzantine colony in Crimea but the ceremony was delayed due to the fact that Volodimir was suffering from inflammation of the eyes. The princess tried to persuade Volodimir not to delay the ceremony, for as soon as he accepted Christianity he would be healed. She did succeed in doing so and Volodimir was baptized and his eyes were miraculously cured. He then married the princess. Upon his return to Kiev, Volodimir took with him several Greek Orthodox clergy to baptize the people of Kiev and the rest of the country. The Kievan Chronicle declares that when Volodimir returned to Kiev from Crimea he ordered all the pagan idols and the statues of the pagan gods on the hills near his palace destroyed. The chief idol, Perun, was tied to a tail of a horse, dragged through the streets and finally thrown into the Dnieper River. Volodimir then commanded the citizens to appear at the river bank on the next day. After they had gathered all were ordered to enter the river. The priests stood alone on the shore and read the baptismal liturgy, and thus the entire city was made Christian. Similar mass baptisms were performed in many other cities. Under Volodimir’s protection Greek Orthodox Christianity spread rapidly. Churches were built and priests were appointed to take charge of education. Greek craftsmen were imported to build and decorate the new churches and masters of many trades were immigrated. Byzantine learning, especially that connected with the Church began to take root. The state became officially Christian. The Ukrainian nation was consolidated by a new Faith, by the Church organization, and by priestly hierarchy subject to the Metropolitan of Kiev.